Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
Gomez Advisors, an e-commerce consulting firm, has created an Internet Credit Card Scorecard for its consumer Web site, which it says is viewed by more than 1 million consumers on a monthly basis. The Scorecard rates which credit card issuers provide the best online credit card application and customer service. Out of 17 card issuers that met its criteria, Gomez ranked NextCard first, American Express Co. second and Security First Network Bank third.
To determine the rankings, Gomez Advisors considered a number of factors. First, each issuer has to have the consumer apply online for the credit card, and the consumer has to be able to view its transaction history on the Internet. Second, each issuer has to have either $1 billion in receivables or be an Internet-only issuer, such as NextCard or Security First. Third, each issuer has to issue its own card to the general public. While the methodology is objective, Gomez can have sponsorships with the companies ranked, says Paul Jamieson, a Gomez analyst. For example, card issuers could advertise their products on the Gomez Web site, he says. Also the site can have markers that hyperlink the consumer to the company's own Web site, although no fee is rendered from Gomez for that service, says Jamieson. So far, Gomez has not developed any of these types of relationships with card issuers, says Jamieson.
As with its other Scorecards, including those for apparel, books, music, gifts and flowers, golf, toys, sporting goods and videos, as well as those for Internet banking, brokerage, mortgage and insurance, the Internet Credit Card Scorecard will be updated on a quarterly basis.